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Despite its name, the guinea pig is not a member of the pig family but a rodent from the Andes in South America.

Apparently in this sentence none of the bolded parts are incorrect. I can't understand why not, isn't this sentence comparing 'a member' to 'rodent'.

Shouldn't it be something like this

Despite its name, the guinea pig is not a member of the pig family but belongs to a rodent family from the Andes in South America.

How is the first sentence grammatically correct and what meaning does it convey.

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    Assuming that it's correct scientifically, the likely intended meaning is: "Despite its name, the guinea pig is not a member of the pig family but [the guinea pig is] a rodent from the Andes in South America." – Damkerng T. May 2 '15 at 12:55
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The not / but pair indicates the semantic structure - these two parts are on the same level.

This means, the sentence structure is like this:

Despite its name,  
        the guinea pig is  
                   **not** a member 
                             of the pig family
                   **but** a rodent
                             from the Andes in South America.
  • I can't understand though since "the guinea pig" is referred to as a member in the first part then shouldn't we write "........ but is a member of the rodent family from the Andes.." – Random Codemonkey May 3 '15 at 4:23
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    There is no need to do so. Its simply not (a) but (b), with (a) and (b) phrased independently. Let me give you a random example: "A quince is not (a dance), but (one of my grandmother's favourite fruits)." The parts after the not/but are semantically linked but not necessarily follow the same pattern. And there is no rodent family from the Andes, but guinea pigs simply are rodents, according to your text. In your example, no elipsis (a "leaving out" of equal parts) of "member" or "family" is involved. – Stephie May 3 '15 at 9:19

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